Tighter restrictions but no effect

Massachusetts has announced tighter restrictions, but I realized it will have zero effect on most of us. The restrictions include maximum 25% capacity at most businesses, max 10 people indoor and 25 people outdoor gatherings. For us, this will have no effect because we already avoid indoor dining, we don’t gather in groups with others (inside or outside), we don’t go to gyms or other high-risk places. The one change would be if gymnastics has to close, Hannah would be disappointed, but they are already under the allowed capacity. As long as school stays open (in the limited amount it is), nothing about our lives will change.

In some ways that is reassuring because it means we won’t be affected. But in other ways it reinforces the frustrations that so many people are behaving so differently from us. This isn’t a righteous “we’re better than you”, it’s just seems like common sense to us to avoid indoor spaces and large gatherings. To me, the risks are too high and the rewards too low. It’s not that we have to make hard decisions about not seeing people over the holidays, it was a very easy decision. They are sad decisions to not be with family and friends, but it seems like such a clear and easy decision.

For others who have been ignoring the existing rules, I doubt they will change behavior. If they were going to get together in large groups, my guess is they are still going to do so. If they were going to dine indoors they are still going to do so – even though indoor dining has been shown to be super risky and now they might feel safer if there are fewer tables. If they were going to travel, they are still going to travel.

As far as vacations, we are thinking about staying in a local hotel for New Years Eve to “get away” but even that is already pushing our comfort zone. I can’t even imagine going to a resort or ski lodge or somewhere with a lot of other people. I appreciate that some people’s home lives are hard, but I don’t have much sympathy or understanding for those who travel just because they are cooped up. Maybe if there was no end in sight I might understand the risks more, but it seems so clear that within a matter of months we will be able to be out again in a less-restricted way.

So it seems that these new restrictions will have zero effect on those of us who are already staying home. And they will have zero effect on people who are already going to take risks and go out. So while I understand the need for tighter rules, it seems almost pointless if it doesn’t actually change behavior.

Things that went well today:

  • I’m on vacation from work for 2 weeks and have enjoyed the relaxing first days of not having to be at my desk working
  • Went on a long walk today in the sunshine and I’ve learned I prefer walking on main streets to be around other (masked) humans
  • The NBA season started tonight and will be a nice diversion in the coming months

Things that did not go well:

  • 2020 will go down as the deadliest in US history with more than 3 million deaths for the first time
  • Pulse oximeters have been proven to be less accurate for Black people – very concerning for a simple, heavily-relied on assessment tool
  • Rain in the forecast for Christmas – no surprise that’s what we get in 2020

Random happy find from the web:

  • This week’s emergency-use approval and release of the Moderna vaccine is the second available vaccine. Moderna is headquartered in a building in Cambridge that I used to work in so I feel a connection to small, local biotech doing such good for the world. And with the first local doses going to frontline workers at East Boston Neighborhood Center (and not the big fancy academic medical centers) it underscores how important protecting each and every healthcare worker is.

Cute puppy photo of the day:

Daisy is ready for her stocking to be filled

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